Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 14th, 2018
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / France, 1961
Director: Roberto Rossellini
Writers: Sergio Amidei, Antonio Petrucci, Diego Fabbri, Antonello Trombadori, Roberto Rossellini, Carlo Alianello, Luigi Chiarini
Cast: Renzo Ricci, Paolo Stoppa, Franco Interlenghi, Giovanna Ralli, Tina Louise
BluRay Release Date: January 29th, 2018 (UK), January 30th, 2018 (USA)
Approximate running times: 129 minutes (Italian language version), 84 minutes (English language version)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian (Italian language version), LPCM Mono English (English language version)
Subtitles: English (Italian language version), English SDH (English language version)
BluRay Release: Arrow Academy USA
Region Encoding: Region A,B
Retail Price: $34.95 (USA) / £19.99 (UK)
Viva L’Italia was co-written and directed by Roberto Rossellini whose other notable films include, Rome, Open City, Paisan, Germany Year Zero, Stromboli, terra di Dio, Europe ’51 and Journey to Italy.
Viva L’Italia is a historical recount of an Italian general named Giuseppe Garibaldi, who lead a military campaign in 1860 to reunify Italy. At the time of his campaign, Sicily and Naples were occupied by Bourbon monarchy.
From a production standpoint, this film does a superb job retelling the events which are now known as Expedition of the Thousand. The narrative is wonderfully paced and more dramatic moments are given an ample amount of time to resonate. Another strength of this film are its well-executed war sequences.
The characters are well defined and the cast are very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Renzo Ricci in the role of Giuseppe Garibaldi. He delivers nuanced that perfectly captures the essence of the character he is portraying. Other notable cast members include, Franco Interlenghi (The Barefoot Contessa), Giovanna Ralli (The Mercenary, What Have They Done to Your Daughters?) and Paolo Stoppa (The Leopard) in the role of an Italian captain named Nino Bixio, who played pivotal role in the Expedition of the Thousand.
Roberto Rossellini is arguably one of Italy’s greatest filmmakers. And though he is most known for his contributions to Italian neorealist cinema. Films from the latter part of his career like Viva L’Italia, get obscured by those aforementioned films. With that being said, Viva L’Italia is an extraordinary film that in on par with Roberto Rossellini most celebrated films.
Viva L’Italia comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The 2k transfer created for this release was sourced from a brand new 2K restoration from the original negative. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp, grain looks natural and black levels remain strong throughout.
This release comes with two version of the film and each version comes with one audio option. Both audio mixes are presented in a LPCM mono, the Italian language version comes with removable English subtitles and the English language version comes with removable English SDH subtitles. The audio options included for each versions sound, clean, clear and balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include, an interview with Roberto Rossellini’s assistant on the film, Ruggero Deodato (32 minutes 57 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), a visual essay titled I Am Garibaldi by Tag Gallagher, author of The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini: His Life and Films (17 minutes 2 seconds) and Garibaldi, an alternate shorter cut of the film originally prepared for the US market.
Topics discussed in the interview with Ruggero Deodato include, the first time he encountered Roberto Rossellini and this moment led to him working in cinema, Escape by Night, Viva L’Italia, onset memories, Roberto Rossellini and his approach to working with actors, the cast, Viva L’Italia’s lackluster box office performance and Roberto Rossellini’s legacy as a filmmaker.
Topics discussed in the video essay include, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Viva L’Italia and Roberto Rossellini.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a twenty-four-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Footnotes in Time written by Michael Pattison and information about restoration / the transfer. Overall Viva L’Italia gets an excellent release from Arrow Academy, highly recommended.
Note: This film is also being released by Arrow Academy on DVD.